Earlier this year I was thrilled to be engaged by Public Records & Archives Administration Department (PRAAD) of the National Archives of Ghana to develop and deliver a workshop on digital recordkeeping, based on the relevant guidelines in the PARBICA Recordkeeping for Good Governance Toolkit. The workshop was funded by the International Council on Archives’ Fund for the International Development of Archives and the Ghanaian Ministry of Finance, and followed on from a workshop on recordkeeping for good governance using the PARBICA toolkit that was run three years ago by New Zealand’s Mark Crookston and Anna Gulbranson.
In the first week of September I travelled to Accra to deliver the workshop. It was an intense but also fun week, during which I was hosted with great warmth and hospitality by the staff of PRAAD . The workshop that I developed was delivered for 30 participants drawn from PRAAD and records specialists from across Ghanaian government.
This workshop contained a lot of content to absorb, requiring a high degree of concentration and engagement from participants, a challenge which was well met. In addition to providing participants with instruction, discussing case studies and running activities, the workshop offered an opportunity for discussion on priority areas for future attention both across the public sector and in specific agencies. Each participant also contributed to an action plan for their agency or for PRAAD for follow up actions in the next 6 months, 6 months – 2 years and 2-5 years’ time.
It was a fascinating experience to visit West Africa and learn about the range of challenges faced by public offices in Ghana, from transitioning from paper to digital, coping with records from mobile working devices, dealing with paper originals that have been digitised, preserving digital records in a range of formats, selecting software for managing records and more.
There was also a great deal of discussion about the increased focus on transparency that is a big driver for them as a result of their Right to Information bill, currently making its way through their Parliament, and the effort to eradicate corruption, as seen, for example, in the ‘ghost names’ phenomenon.
It was a great pleasure for me to meet the energetic and committed people tackling these challenges in Ghana – hopefully I’ll get a chance to get back there before too long.
About the author
Cassie Findlay is a Senior Consultant with Recordkeeping Innovation. In past roles, Cassie has worked strategically at the whole of public sector level on digital recordkeeping, training and open data / open government initiatives, and implemented NSW’s first digital archive for born digital government records. Cassie has a Masters degree in information management from the University of NSW and is a co-founder of the Recordkeeping Roundtable.